British Army, Royal Irish Regiment, 1st Battalion (1 R IRISH), in Afghanistan (Crown Copyright, 2010)

Op TORAL Honours for 1 R IRISH Soldier

Sgt Mather Mentioned in Despatches After Kabul Suicide Bombing During Op TORAL Deployment

Receiving a Mention in Despatches for saving lives in Afghanistan following a suicide bomb near the German Embassy in Kabul, Sergeant Andrew Mather, 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, was a Multiple Commander during his deployment in 2017. Andrew co-ordinated the initial response at the scene, directing the stretcher party and administering first aid to the injured, all under an imminent threat of a subsequent attack.

A massive truck bomb exploded in the diplomatic section of Afghanistan’s capital in May 2017, killing at least 80 people and wounding over 350 others. The blast ripped through the central Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, home to foreign diplomatic missions and government offices, damaging dozens of vehicles and surrounding buildings. Initial reports said the explosives were hidden in a water tanker.

The target of the massive bombing was not immediately clear. It happened in an area not far from the German embassy. However, the explosion mostly devastated a nearby building, housing the main office of Roshan, the leading telecommunications service provider in Afghanistan.

Afghan security forces quickly cordoned off the area and NATO troops also arrived at the site to assist in rescue efforts.

1 R IRISH on Op TORAL

The British Army’s 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH), were then on deployment in Afghanistan in Operation TORAL, the UK’s contribution to the NATO mission Resolute Support. 1 R IRISH had been working closely with other international units on deployment in Afghanistan, including those from Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Based at Clive Barracks, Shropshire, 1 R IRISH deployed in December 2016. Before deploying, Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Graham Shannon, told the Shropshire Star:

We will be providing security and provide a control of movements of Nato forces in Kabul. We will be there in the event of a serious incident which would involve Nato forces being ready to respond. We will be defending ourselves and those people we are there to protect. We will be working with Afghan security forces who will have the lead.

Sgt Mather Honoured for Courage and Professional Excellence

Sgt Mather’s citation states:

Amongst all this devastation and complexity, Mather led his small team to overcome all challenges through clarity of thought and decisive action, saving at least one life and preventing the deterioration of others. For this display of courage and professional excellence in the most demanding circumstances, Mather is highly recommended for formal recognition.